Suicide statistics are often daunting. According to the Center for Disease Control “There were 41,149 suicides in 2013 in the United States—a rate of 12.6 per 100,000 is equal to 113 suicides each day or one every 13 minutes”. When you think about this on the global scale The World Health Organization identifies that someone dies by suicide every 40 seconds.
These numbers are quite jarring and demonstrate how important it is to discuss this on a global scale. In the spirit of World Social Work Day and Social Work Month, we want a global conversation around the issue of suicide and social justice. The need to address suicide from the social justice perspective is explored in this TED Talk by Dr. Professor Siobhan O’Neill:
Here is a particularly moving quote: “Suicide is response to unbearable pain, to hopelessness, and feelings of failure and entrapment”
Dr. O’Neill examines the effect on post-traumatic stress and its impact on the health of people in Northern Ireland. The economic and social determinants in Northern Ireland led to continued poor health outcomes and suicide. She makes a call to increase connectedness in the community because this connectedness saves lives.
Moving from a local scale to a more global scale, think about how the social work/social justice community can bring about change. In honor of social work month, please join us and our guest Dr. Siobhan O’Neill for special global twitter chat about this issue.
We will tackle the following questions:
How is Suicide Prevention is a social justice issue?
What social factors potentially impact suicide risk in the area that you serve?
What are some of the barriers to suicide prevention?
What are ways the macro social work/social work community can collaborate with the suicide prevention community?
This chat is a collaboration between Macro Social Work Tweet Chat (@OfficialMacroSW represented by @KarenZgoda) and the Suicide Prevention on Social Media Tweet Chat (@spsmchat represented by Sean Erreger, LCSW @StuckonSW) Thanks again to Dr. Siobahn O’Neill (@ProfSiobahnOn) for the inspiration and joining us in Northern Ireland.
To join us please follow/use the hashtag #MacroSW on Saturday March 26, 2016 at 1:00pm EST / 6:00pm GMT
For our March 2016 Documentary Movie Night, we will be watching A New State of Mind: Ending the Stigma of Mental Illness produced by the public television station KVIE-TV in California. Here is the description of the movie:
“A New State of Mind” is an hour long documentary that was produced in the state of California by the public television station KVIE-TV for a mental health awareness month in May 2013. Its aim is to reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness and to encourage sufferers to seek help earlier rather than later in their illness. The film is freely available to watch online at Vimeo.com and the makers are keen for it to be viewed as widely as possible. Further information about California’s Mental Health Movement can be accessed at their website called Each Mind Matters, where there are also some other interesting videos available to watch.
“A New State of Mind” features some famous people from the political and sporting worlds as well as ordinary people who come from a variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds. The film is filled with hope and a positive attitude and is narrated by the well-known actress Glenn Close, co-founder of the national anti-stigma campaign in America called Bring Change 2 Mind, which aims to remove misconceptions about mental illness through public education. Glenn Close has become a mental health advocate as a result of having her sister diagnosed with bipolar disorder and her nephew diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder.
This movie shows what it is like to live with mental illness in the US. As you watch the movie, put on your #MacroSW hat and think about some of the policy, research and other macro-level issues that surround the individuals and families in this movie.
Here are the questions we hope to discuss during the chat:
From the movie, what are some of the challenges for individuals suffering from mental health challenges and their families?
What are some macro-level approaches to addressing these challenges?
What do you think is the most important policy issue affecting individuals with mental health problems? Why?
What do you think most Americans don’t realize about individuals with mental health problems?
What single word best describes how the film made you feel?
What’s next? How do we as social workers address the challenges experienced by individuals with mental health challenges?
#MacroSW is a collaboration of social workers, organizations, social work schools, and individuals working to promote macro social work practice. Macro social work practice focuses on changing larger systems, such as communities and organizations. It encompasses a broad spectrum of actions and ideas, ranging from community organizing and education to legislative advocacy and policy analysis. The chats are held weekly on Twitter every Thursday at 9 p.m. EST (6 p.m. PST). Click here for a list of chat partners. For information about how to participate in the #MacroSW chat, view our FAQs. For chat schedule and chat archives check out: http://macrosw.com
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics calls on social workers to promote social justice and social change through a variety of ways, including political action.
On March 17 at 9 p.m. ET, NASW will host the #MacroSW Twitter chat entitled “Social Work, Politics, and Advocacy.” This discussion is especially timely considering this is an election year and March is National Social Work Month .
Join this chat to discuss the political issues NASW is tackling and learn about NASW national office activities from Mel Wilson, NASW manager of social justice and human rights, and Dina Kastner, NASW’s senior field organizer. NASW’s priority issues include criminal justice reform, urging Congress to restore voting rights and the passage of the Improving Access to Mental Health Act, which would update Medicare reimbursement for social workers to provide more mental health services to older Americans. NASW will also share updates of their work with the Congressional Social Work Caucus, chaired by social worker Rep. Barbara Lee of California.
NASW chapters are also involved in local political advocacy. For instance, the NASW Michigan Chapter is pushing state regulators to address the water contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan. The South Carolina Chapter of NASW was involved in helping the state recover from recent incidents of police violence, racially charged shootings at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopalian Church, and the call to bring down the Confederate flag at the statehouse.
We want social workers and their allies to be involved in the political conversation. Be ready to answer these questions:
What political advocacy activities are you involved in?
What are political issues that you think the social work profession should be more engaged?
What are the top 3 issues you think NASW should address through political advocacy?
Who are your favorite social workers in politics and why?
NASW looks forward to hosting the #MacroSW chat. We are sure we will have an interesting discussion.
Join us on Thursday, March 10 at 9 pm EST (6 pm Pacific) for the #MacroSW chat for a conversation about ensuring healthy development for youth. This chat is inspired by the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare’s Grand Challenges. We’ll have a representative from AASWSW (@AASWSWorg) joining us.
We’ll explore the following questions:
What interventions are most effective in promoting positive mental health, preventing mental health problems among young people?
How do we scale successful preventive interventions that address mental health issues among young people?
What resources can social workers use to learn more about promoting positive mental health, preventing problems before they occur?
What partnerships should social workers pursue with other disciplines/organizations to help youth with mental health issues?
What skills/training do social workers need to promote better mental health, help prevent mental health problems in young people?
For information about how to participate in the #MacroSW chat, view our FAQs.
In the 116th year of our profession, there are more than 600,000 social workers in the United States that likely passed through one of our 235 schools of social work. In fact, CSWE accredits close to 800 social work programs and many schools have both BSW and MSW accreditations. One of the reasons why social work has been called “the 21st century law degree” is because it embraces every possible super power. Need to navigate the patchwork quilt we call our health care system? Call a social worker. Need to pull together legislation to that protects the most vulnerable Americans? Call a social worker. Need to mend a broken relationship, heal wounds from childhood abuse and neglect, or overcome the fears standing in the way of becoming the best person you can be? Call a social worker. If social workers were to dress up like the superheroes they are and stand on the steps outside of ComiCon, they would probably look something like this:
For #SWMonth 2016, #MacroSW is partnering with some of the most important and influential social work organizations on social media. We are joining our wondertwin powers on Twitter to celebrate and promote social work. Our team of collaborating superheroes this month include: